HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Midway through the 48 hour walkout staged by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which has affected HMRC offices, comes a public slagging off of the management of HMRC by the Treasury Select Committee.

The Treasury Select Committee has issued a report that states:

"Performance at HMRC remains mixed with considerable room for improvement."

The Telegraph quotes a "Government insider":

"This is extremely concerning.

The country's finances are in a poor enough state already and now we learn that HMRC needs rebuilding too

I find that statement to be alarming in itself. How can it be that the government is only just now learning that HMRC is in a mess?

The Committee is "deeply concerned about employee engagement at HMRC and its effect on performance."

That's alright though, because Lesley Strathie (CEO of HMRC) has denied that poor morale is hitting tax collection.

The Committee is "deeply troubled by the apparent absence of any detailed plan to ameliorate the situation", and asked that HMRC bosses "redouble their efforts to re-engage with their workforce".

The good news is that HMRC have now said:

"HMRC senior managers are addressing the causes of low morale. The Department's new business plan includes a key objective to improve staff commitment."


I assume then that there will be no more comments from HMRC staff on this site wrt how poorly they are being treated by their line managers?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. "HMRC senior managers are addressing the causes of low morale. The Department's new business plan includes a key objective to improve staff commitment."

    No more threats of redundancy with less staff doing more work, impossible targets, low pay, staff will be able to use their knowledge to deal with situations instead of blindly following rigid instructions from people who don't work on the front line, having to account for every millisecond and IT systems that work. Sounds like a great idea.

  2. Perhaps now Senior Management might look at the provisions of the Management of Health and Safety in the Workplace Regs 1999 which clearly states that ALL processes and procedures MUST be Risk Assessed and that the RA MUST take into account any effect on staff as well as any effect on the business. As none of the existing processes appear to have been risk assessed especially by a competent person it could be considered that they are not legal. According to the Civil Service Code "Reasonable" instructions should be obeyed. Obviously if they are illegal they need not be obeyed as they cannot be considered reasonable.PCS please note.

  3. "HMRC senior managers are addressing the causes of low morale. The Department's new business plan includes a key objective to improve staff commitment."

    This probably means they are working out who spilled the beans with a view to getting rid of them.

  4. In response to 9 March 2010 12:10

    The Health and Safety Executive can only deal with complaints if they are made with the support of more than one employee. The PCS claim they can only deal with cases such as discrimmination and bullying on an individual case.

    Maybe the PCS should be getting together the evidence to back up the stats presented in the staff surveys and make a complaint the HSE.

  5. Is there an election coming up, a government committee taking an interest in a large group of voters!!!

  6. The top shop at HMRC are currently clinging , for dear life, on to one aspect of the recent death blow that was the staff survey. Apparently, more people like their immediate manager than before. Reason, which they will eventually understand? We used to think our immediate managers were lying to us, and trying to do us down. Now , staff have sussed out that EVERYONE, under the level of Grade 7, is being lied to and shafted. Thus increased sympathy from staff to line managers. WE'RE ALL BEING SHIT ON.

  7. Oh,by the way, Leslie Strathie, if you,or more likely one of your snake in the grass minions is reading this -low morale is hitting tax collection. How do I know - I am a Tax Collector. And, because of your constant meddling, crappy initiatives,dumbing down,lack of courage, lack of funding, lying and hypocrisy, to be honest, I can't really summon up much enthusiasm for my job. Will continue to take the money until you get around to getting rid of me.Up yours.

  8. 9 March 2010 17:22

    There may be less people complaining about their immediate managers and these managers may use the phrase 'I am only doing as I am told' a lot. But do not let them take to much heart from this. It is still their names that will be published at some point in the future as bullies. And they will still be the ones in the firing line if any future discrimination cases get brought.

  9. You couldn't make this up!! Says it all about management!

  10. 9 March 2010 19:34

    It will be an attempt to cause more anger against the strike. My partner has been on strike and will not be accepting verbal abuse from callers on their return to work in the morning.

  11. I totally agree with the poster at 18.06 today.

    I also work in DMB and all of what this poster said just says it all, and that's not even before we get this load of shite that is pacesetter created and implemented by a bunch of brain-dead dickheads.

    They think pacesetter is going to improve productivity and morale?

    Someone must be sniffing glue then.

    And there was Field Farce, er sorry 'Field Force', which has has to return a shit load of AO grade back to DMB, as they couldn't afford the money fo the petrol!

    By the way, Leslie Strathie also totally fucked up the DWP too.

  12. I can never respect the top brass like Lesley Strathie, Mike Clasper and co because they are parachuted into the top jobs with no experience of tax work. Tax is not like any other office work or monetary work because of all the variables which makes it complicated. Therefore our top managers don't understand this and so their management ways don't fit the Inland Revenue (I can't speak for Customs as I have never worked there). In short, how can an ex-chairman of EMI have any clue about how to run HMRC ? And part-time as well !!

  13. Re the last comment - in its death throes Customs had an ex banker Richard Broadbent as chairman who made such a mess of the Dept that merger with the Inland Revenue became inevitable.
    When will the people at the top start to listen to the people who actually know what the job involves instead of imposing impossible systems that don't work in practice - like the new penatly regime ?

  14. Poster 8 March 17:08 (Training Matters)...

    "...What has happened since the merger is that a bullying culture has been imposed which seems to value processes, procedures, authorisations and spreadsheets way above actually collecting tax..."


    "...having to get the same document countersigned by the same manager five times and then by various levels on top of that is pure overkill ..."

    This is no exaggeration. This surely is an area that needs to be looked at to cut out "waste" and cut costs (wasted time, resources and duplication of effort). This affects everyone in the UK and it is taxpayers' money that is being squandered here. Surely the "wonderful" LEAN and PaceSetter reviews we hear about, ad nauseum, should have picked up on this. Or is it simply that the management bullies don't trust us to do our jobs properly and accurately?

    Answers on a postcard, please, to: D Hartnett, L Strathie, M Clasper... (why have just the one chair when a three-piece suite is much comfier?!!)

    PS Mike who???

  15. "...HMRC senior managers are addressing the causes of low morale. The Department's new business plan includes a key objective to improve staff commitment..."

    Don't hold your breath folks, this is no more than "politically correct" spin and has absolutely no substance whatsoever,


    I am sure I just saw a flock of pink elephants swooping past the window!

  16. "...HMRC senior managers are addressing the causes of low morale. The Department's new business plan includes a key objective to improve staff commitment..."

    You can bet your boots senior management will twist this into individuals being threatened with: "You'd better shape up or your fired matey!".

  17. The senior managers are leaving the sinking ship like the proverbial when they get a chance - Cathy Wilcher barely lasted a year. I assume nobody else wants Leslie Strathie or she would be gone as well. Strathie said in a phone in last year that she has no interest whatsoever in whether her staff are happy or not - 'nuff said.

    This government and the HMRC managers have brought two great Government Departments to their knees.

  18. Agree with above 08:42.
    But if Morale is improved (which it probably will not be) how is HMRC gonna reach its Cull target?
    Morale being destroyed could not have been simply Managers disengaging from staff.
    If you destroy a departments drive there is a good chance people will leave, and as this site has pointed out thousands already have.
    I think the whole programme was deliberate and the shower of shits at the top thought they were gonna get away with it. But now the Press, MPs and Committes have finally clicked on and the cover is blown.
    If some type of system is put in place to improve the place, another one to destroy people will begin.

  19. The next 12 months or so should be interesting. My partner is constantly being told that they are the worst member of their team. Everything they do is nit picked in a way to lower their self esteem.

    Having taken legal advice on various incidents that have taken place over the last couple of years it appears there may be a strong case on the discrimination front against my partners manager.

    There could also be a good basis for a formal complaint against HMRC via the health and safety executive. We are just getting together all the evidence in order to look at starting the process.

  20. Above.

    The more people flag this up the better.
    These bullies need to be brought to book.
    The fact that its rampant could stand in your favour.

    They think they can destroy peoples working lives and then go home and enjoy their dinner.
    A warm arse is what some of them need and what some of them are gonna get.

  21. If you are considering taking action, which I am in the middle of, check your house insurance policy, I have £100K legal assistance on mine and it covers work related disputes. Also be on the lookout for HMRC using the "time barred" defence. They use this all the time and cant seem to get their heads round the fact that if you follow the grievance procedure that is one continuous process untill any appeal against decision is finally made. Always get legal advice as help against the dirty tricks dept.

  22. HMRC staff may have the ability to complain to the HSE regarding HMRC bullying but what to do taxpayers who are being bullied by HMRC do?

    If any HMRC staff are thinking of actually doing something constructive to help turn HMRC around then please do so ASAP.

    !!There's an election coming up.!!

    Surely one of you must have the backbone to leak something damaging?

  23. 10 March 2010 16:40

    I think the people running HMRC are trying to make a name for themselves with the government for their own personal gain. I do not think they give a toss about taxpayers anymore than they do their own staff.

    And do not think the current opposition will be any better. Their leader has no substance either. He was supplied with information regarding the bullying recently and did nothing with it.

  24. Re the HSE,

  25. 10 March 2010 17:21

    Looks about as much use as the recent capability report. Lots of inspections but no action.

  26. They dont care about morale. They dont care about public service. They dont even care about collecting the billions owed in the tax gap. They dont care that they spent millions on a computer system that has serious flaws. They dont care that thier staff are de-skilled and not allowed to do a proper job giving service to thier customers. They do care about building thier petty empires and feathering thier own nests.

  27. That they don't care is exemplified by a recent management memo about cross tax working which said that VAT staff find it frustrating at the speed it takes to get a cross tax case underway (which is true) and that they need to change their culture of getting things done quickly and move more slowly !!
    That is really going to help the public sector debt figures ! - I don't think !

  28. And there's more proof that we are so pissed off here at HMRC:

    The PCS has called another civil service-wide stike set for Friday 19th March!

  29. I can only concur with my colleagues who have posted here already. The introduction of 'Lean' and 'Pacesetter' have benefitted only middle and senior managers and the overpriced consultants from Unipart who were paid huge sums of public money (that's where your waste is, folks!) to spout MBA-bollocksese.

    Staff in Processing are now completely demotiviated because the obsession with 'processes' and 'KPIs', allied to a brand new computer system which still doesn't work properly, and a management culture of perpetually-moving goalposts, intimidation and bullying, mean that staff with 20-30 years' experience in the job simply aren't allowed to do quality work any more.

    Nothing will change until that culture is changed. Unfortunately, that comes from the very top where - if you read the Department's intranet jobs pages - 'non jobs' are being created every single week.

  30. As for PaceSetter, note that Mike Eland, the ExCom Director for Compliance has an official blogsite so you can post there (as well as here) to tell him just how shite PeceSetter and Compliance really is!

  31. In plain English:

    PaceSetter = PissTaker!!!

  32. As for PaceSetter, note that Mike Eland, the ExCom Director for Compliance has an official blogsite so you can post there (as well as here) to tell him just how shite PeceSetter and Compliance really is!

    Careful on this one. If it can only be accessed internally he can trace who posts.

  33. And here's the latest folks!

    The next planned day on industrial action will not now be taking place on Friday 19th March.

    But that's only because it's been re-scheduled and will now be taking place on Wednesday 24th March - same day as the budget!

  34. Re Low Morale

    I have just retired having given forty three years of my life to HMRC and its predecessors. It is reasonable to assume that I gave more than my pound of flesh.
    While I did not expect a knighthood, (previous noble knights of the realm Broadbent and Varley managed no more than five years service between them) an acknowledgment of my efforts would not have gone amiss. All I received was a one sentence letter with the immortal words “Please find enclosed your P45.”
    Bitter? You bet.

  35. No cardigans allowed on back of chairs. Know(literally) nothing "Managers" whispering threats in peoples ears ("You'll feel a tap on your shoulder": "I shall be drawing up a chair", etc., etc). Surely somebody has to act on this sort of rubbish. Names must be published, and investigations made. Is this a civilised country or isn't it ?